Photo Credit: United Hatzalah
Ron Cohen (l) giving magician and EMT Aharon Avital his replacement EpiPen after the incident, June 14, 2022.

On Tuesday morning, a young girl suffered an anaphylactic reaction to a dairy product while attending classes in a school on Modiin St. in Teveria. The young girl went into shock and the school staff called emergency services for help.

United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Yaeir Nahum, who runs a designer balloon store located a few blocks away from the school, was in the middle of helping a customer when his communications device alerted him to the emergency. He apologized to the customer and told them he needed to rush out and save someone’s life, and would return shortly.


Yaeir rushed out of the store and drove as fast as he could to the school. When he arrived, he saw that the young girl’s limbs were beginning to turn blue due to lack of proper oxygen flow and that she was sweating and had enflamed rashes all over her body. She was having difficulty breathing and her pulse was beginning to slow down.

Yaeir asked the girl and the staff whether she was known to have any allergies and was told she was allergic to dairy products but that she hadn’t eaten any, but she had been exposed to a dairy cake and that triggered the reaction.

Yaeir then asked if the girl or the staff had an EpiPen and when they said they didn’t, the EMT took out the one EpiPen he keeps with him in his medical kit and administered using the autoinjector. A few moments later, the girl’s symptoms began to recede. A mobile intensive care ambulance arrived only ten minutes later and Yaeir updated the crew and helped escort the now stable patient into the ambulance.

An EpiPen injector / Tokyogirl79

Epinephrine autoinjectors (known by the trademark EpiPen) are hand-held devices for emergency treatment of anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis, often known as anaphylactic shock, is a serious, potentially fatal allergic reaction and medical emergency that is rapid in onset and requires immediate medical attention. When anaphylaxis is suspected, epinephrine solution should be given as soon as possible as an intramuscular injection, in the middle of the outer side of the thigh, which corresponds to the location of the vastus lateralis muscle. The injection may be repeated every 5 to 15 minutes if there is insufficient response. A second dose is needed in 16–35% of episodes, but more than two doses are only rarely required.

Less than an hour after the incident in Teveria, another anaphylactic shock incident took place, this time on Yigal Allon Street near the Derech HaShalom interchange in Tel Aviv. A woman in her 30s, also with a serious allergy to dairy products, inadvertently ingested some dairy in her office. She, too, had an anaphylactic reaction and her situation deteriorated quickly while people around her were calling emergency services for help.

As luck would have it, Aharon Avital, a magician who was on his way to purchase supplies for his upcoming magic show, was riding his ambucycle and had just exited the Ayalon Highway at the Derech HaShalom interchange. United Hatzalah’s dispatch and command center identified him as the closest responder and sent him an urgent alert about the developing emergency. Upon receiving the address, Aharon flicked on his emergency lights and sirens, U-turned, and raced to the address. Arriving in less than 60 seconds, Aharon ran into the building and was directed to the woman in distress. He asked if she had her own EpiPen on her and she shook her head No. Aharon quickly pulled out the one EpiPen he carries with him in his medical kit and administered the dosage.

“The mobile intensive care unit arrived nearly fifteen minutes after I had administered the EpiPen,” explained Aharon. “Had it not been for the EpiPen I gave her, the woman’s situation would have deteriorated drastically. I truly feel I helped save a life today and that makes me smile. I respond to a lot of medical emergencies and an epinephrine autoinjection device is certainly one of the most important lifesaving tools that I carry.”

Aharon explained that “there’s a massive shortage of these autoinjection devices around the globe and here in Israel as well. But I believe that it is something that every first responder needs to have with them at all times. For a few minutes, I was worried that now that I used the EpiPen I carry I wouldn’t have one to give to the next patient I treat, but in truth, I shouldn’t have worried. Less than 30 minutes after the incident, my team leader Ron Cohen drove out to meet me and gave me a replacement EpiPen. It is because of him and the organization that I am once again prepared to save lives in any situation.”

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